Benny GOLSON Funky Quintet – That's Funky 2000

Benny GOLSON Funky Quintet – That’s Funky  2000
Recorded at 39th Street Music, New York City, 22-23. 12. 2000.


This session harkens back to Golson’s pivotal role in the 1958 edition of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, when the tenor saxophonist was helping to mold the classic form of the hard-bop quintet. In fact, it was Golson, as musical director, who really defined the Messengers’ ethos and sound. He was also the man who introduced Blakey to those other young Philadelphians, trumpeter Lee Morgan and pianist Bobby Timmons. He’s joined here by another significant voice of the style, trumpeter Nat Adderley in one of his last recording sessions before passing away in early 2000, and a first-rate rhythm section made up of younger veterans: pianist Monty Alexander, bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. The band pumps vigorous life into tunes that helped define hard bop and soul jazz–Golson’s “Blues March,” Adderley’s “Work Song,” Timmons’s “Moanin,'” and Morgan’s “Sidewinder”–as well as two versions of Kurt Weill’s “Mack the Knife,” one funky, one boppish. It’s a band that’s both hard driving and playful, from Alexander’s reggae touches to Drummond quoting “Wade in the Water” during his solo on “Moanin’.” The inspiration shows in Golson’s solos, from coiling, quicksilver bop to the deeply felt blues he serves up on his new tune “Mississippi Windows.” By Stuart Broomer.
Saxophonist/composer/arranger Benny Golson, though an unfamiliar name, is practically a jazz institution. Golson wrote such jazz standards as “I Remember Clifford” and “Whisper Not.” He’s played with, or arranged for, countless jazz and non-jazz performers, among them Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, Art Blakey, Eric Burdon, Connie Francis, Quincy Jones and Art Farmer.

With THAT’S FUNKY, the emphasis is on Golson’s rich, robust, blues-inflected tenor saxophone. He also pays tribute to the funkier side of the jazz tradition, sometimes referred to as “soul jazz.” Lee Morgan’s hit “Sidewinder” gets a loose-limbed, swaggering treatment, with a bristling solo from trumpeter Nat Adderley, whose own classic “Work Song” gets a similar treatment. Here, Golson’s sly, wild tones prove he’s not stuck in the pre-1960s past. The trio of Monty Alexander, Ray Drummond, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith keep the groove going throughout with tight, tasty, rippling playing. Each tune runs an average of seven minutes, enough for everyone to stretch, yet nobody rambles, and every note counts. THAT’S FUNKY is 50 minutes of first-rate mainstream, timeless jazz.
In my experience of some thirty years of writing about and recording musicians, BENNY GOLSON stands out as a man whose musical skills and capacities are extraordinarily wide-ranging. He is consistently resourceful in terms of creativity, as well as as being a thorough professional. His conscientiousness, the high standards he always sets for himself, and his total reliability are qualities that account for the prominence he has attained – along with, of course, his prodigious musicianship as a composer, arranger and performer. Benny Golson continually impresses me with the freshness of his musical conceptions. But I am never surprised that they always work exactly as he says they will, because they always do.”
By Nat Hentoff.
Jazz Saxophonist & Composer Benny Golson and his all-star cohorts (Nat Adderley, Monty Alexander, Ray Drummond, & Marvin Smitty Smith) capture the heart of Funk on this stirring CD Benny Golon: That s Funky (also available as MP3 Download). Golson has put together a menu of tunes that represent some of Jazz music’s greatest hits, creating some of the Funkiest moments of the twentieth century. When most people think of Funk, it’s generally associated with R&B stars such as George Clinton (and his Parliament / Funkadelic bands), or the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (whose former band members include Funk Royalty such as Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley). Well before the Clinton’s and Brown’s of music made their presence felt during the 60’s, Hardbop Grandpop Horace Silver was the first to pull funk out of the closet and call it by name with his classic Opus De Funk during the 50’s. In a sense, this action made it acceptable for this blues based sensibility to be recognized in Jazz in a formal way. Silver wasn’t the only voice laying down this sound, coaxing fans out of their seats to joyous romping and nodding their heads to funky rhythms. There were other architects who helped to build this brand of music and spread the funky word. Among them is Philadelphia born and bred saxophonist Benny Golson. Benny Golson: That’s Funky is not only a testament to the authors of some of the finest Jazz compositions, but also a recording of some of the funkiest performances of the past Century.
For a straight ahead jazz album (played by masters of the genre) this IS very funky. Before Bootsy was playing for James Brown and before Larry Graham was slappin and poppin; before there was fusion, these guys, or should I say LEGENDS were playing some funky [stuff]. Excellent blowing on some great standards. Ray Drummon, especially, is putting on a clinic on how to lay masterful grooves!
Nat Adderley- (Trumpet)
Benny Golson- (Tenor Sax)
Monty Alexander- (Piano)
Ray Drummond- (Bass)
Marvin “Smitty” Smith- (Drums)
01. Mack The Knife (Funky version) (K. Weill, B. Brecht, M. Blitzstein) (5:38)
02. Moanin’ (B. Timmons) (7:57)
03. Sidewinder (L. Morgan) (6:11)
04. Mississippi Windows (B. Golson) (8:16)
05. Work Song (N. Adderley – O. Brown) (621)
06. Moritat (Modern bebop version) (K. Weill, B. Brecht, M. Blitzstein) (6:01)
07. Blues March (B. Golson) (8:37)

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